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Malaysian Borneo Orangutan Encounter

Malaysian Borneo Orangutan Encounter

Help conserve and care for some of the world’s most beautiful animals and trek the Borneo jungle to see cheeky and charismatic orangutans.

Prices from $2,645

Explore the beauty of Malaysia, trek through some of the world’s oldest rainforests, climb towering mountains, relax on postcard perfect beaches and discover historic and delicately decorated temples whilst working with some of the world’s most endangered and threatened species, volunteering with staff from the Malaysian Zoological Society before heading over to Borneo to search the jungle for wild orangutans.

Start your Frontier adventure in the bustling cyber city of Kuala Lumpur with space age high rises, including the landmark Petronas towers and its contrasting hidden ancient temples at the Batu caves. Experience two weeks as a zoo assistant helping the local keepers improve the living conditions for some of Malaysia’s most endangered and beautiful wildlife before flying into the wild and exciting rainforests of Borneo, overflowing with exotic wildlife including species as diverse as sun bears, pygmy elephants, orangutans, proboscis monkeys, the Bornean rhinoceros and the largest individual flower on the planet. Not only this, but Borneo's stunning eastern coastline is lined with numerous tiny tropical islands and surrounded by extensive coral reef which is quite simply bursting with life and exhibiting more colours, shapes and sizes than you could possibly imagine!

Join our Frontier Malaysian-Borneo adventure for a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed!



  • Gain unique practical experience working with zoological professionals
  • Trek through Borneo’s primeval rainforest
  • Come face to face with magnificent orangutans
  • Live amongst a local tribe deep in the rainforest


  • Minimum age of 18 years


Location Kuala Lumpur and Borneo
Activities Feed and care for the animals at the zoo
Enclosure maintenance and cleaning
Create enrichment activities
Visit an orangutan orphanage and rehabilitation centre
Trek into the heart of Borneo's rainforest
Introduction to local tribal culture
Community development activities
Transport Airport pick-up and drop-off
Accommodation Shared dormitories and longhouses


Before you go Pre-departure support & documentation
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Advice on visas and equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
In-country Food/food allowance
Project orientation & training
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ back-up


A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.


The Frontier-Malaysian Borneo project aims to give volunteers an introduction to animal husbandry and conservation in a key area of the world that has critically endangered ecosystems and species.

Situated on 110 acres of land the vast zoo has more than 5,400 individual animals made up of more than 470 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. This project gives volunteers like you the opportunity to help the locals look after this large number of species and help improve their living standards. The zoo’s long term objective is to develop into a world class zoo; with the help from volunteers like you it will be possible.

The second half of your adventure focuses on increasing community awareness of environmental issues and conservation including threats to forest habitats and wildlife in Sabah, in northern Borneo. You may also have the opportunity to contribute towards our reforestation programme whilst living in the rainforest and contributing to our conservation efforts.


Your first two weeks will be spent working at the National Zoo of Malaysia, helping out with whatever is needed. Your detailed work programme will be agreed with your project leader upon arrival but the kinds of activities you may find yourself involved in could include hands on work such as helping to prepare food for the animals, feeding, creating enrichment programmes, cleaning enclosures, making improvements to animal habitats, carrying out renovation works and guiding the public around the park. You may even get the chance to learn some Malay whilst helping the local zoo keepers develop their English. Activities could change depending on the weather, season, festivities, zoo and project requirements. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who are enthusiastic and willing to get stuck in. 

The final two weeks of your adventure will see you take an internal flight over to Borneo where you will set off on an expedition into the Malaysian Borneo rainforest. You will get an experience of life as a member of the local indigenous population staying in the Orang Sungai village in Sabah, home to the people of the river. You will visit the orangutan rehabilitation centre, live amongst the local tribal community and contribute to a local reforestation project, as well as learn about local crafts and take regular treks into the forest to collect important wildlife population data from the river. You will get the opportunity to help the local community by working with them to improve their understanding of the complicated conservation world that has descended upon them. You will have the chance to record Sabah’s spectacular wildlife along Kinabatangan River with a major focus on orangutans and pygmy elephants, in addition to contributing to the reforestation project where you can plant trees and help maintain planting sites important for orangutan and pygmy elephants. 

*Please be aware that the cost of the internal flight from Kuala Lumpar to Sandakan is not included within the price of this project. Flights between Kuala Lumpar and Sandakan typically cost between $68-$102.


You will be met upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) by a friendly, local project representative who will transfer you to a guest house in the city centre for your first night, allowing you to freshen up and rest before being transferred to your accommodation at the zoo the following day. Please aim to arrive before 3pm on the project start date. You will be welcomed with an orientation dinner and briefing where you will discover more about the project and the local area.


When you first arrive you will be taken to a friendly, local guesthouse in the city centre for the first night of the project where you will have access to everything you will need for the night. In the morning you will be transferred to the volunteer house on the grounds of the zoo itself. The rooms are dormitory style where you will be sharing with other volunteers. 

For the second half of the project you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Borneo. Depending on the time of year and project duration you will either be staying at a local guesthouse before moving to the longhouse or staying at the longhouse before moving to a basic, locally run B&B in a tribal village. 


For the first phase of this project in Kuala Lumpur you will be provided with a food allowance which you can use to go out and sample the countless food stalls and restaurants, cater for yourself or try the zoo canteen which provides a good Malaysian meal and gives you a great opportunity to get to know your local colleagues. 

During the second phase of the project in the Borneo rainforest you will be provided with 3 meals per day.

Malaysian food is heavily influenced by a variety of cultures from all over the world; the fusion of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavours create a symphony of aromas and exotic tastes. 

Eat like the locals by trying a tasty nasi dagang for breakfast or join the cult following in Kuala Lumpur addicted to hokkiem mee noodles and blow your taste buds away with the deliciously simple BBQ satay stalls dotted on every street corner. The multicultural community of Malaysia may have many cultural differences but they are all passionate about their cuisine, creating a unique, delicious culinary style.

Beneficial trip  | 18 Sep 2016
Any Biology based University or A-level student would find this expedition incredibly beneficial,...

Read more

Worth every penny  | 30 Jun 2016
The expedition was well worth every penny I paid, I gained a far greater understanding of Borneo ...

Read more

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After you complete your project why not discover Kuala Lumpur’s spectacular landmarks by taking a hop on hop off bus tour around the city, learn how to cook like the locals with cooking lessons or take a stroll along the canopy skywalk in a nearby national park? Other opportunities include exploring the tea plantations and refreshing mossy forests of the Cameron Highlands, taking an eco bike tour through Melaka and discovering your inner peace with yoga lessons along Langkawi’s spectacular beaches. Whatever your preferences you are sure to find endless activities to get involved in before the start or after the end of your project. Please remember to bring any additional funding to cover such activities as they do not form part of your Frontier project.

From the peninsula and across the South China Sea to Borneo, Malaysia is brimming over with exciting and unique world heritage sites and flourishing forests ready and waiting for you to discover.

Whilst in Borneo, discover Sabah and watch the local girls compete for the crown at the harvest festival, take a chance at climbing Mt. Kinabalu or relax on the beaches of Turtle Island Park. What are you waiting for, speak to a Frontier travel consultant today! 


28 days $2,645


28 days


Before you go

  • Pre-departure support & documentation
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt


  • Food/ food allowance
  • Accommodation
  • Project orientation & training
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ backup


Nearest airport(s): Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)



Flights are not included in our trip costs. However, we have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with us. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact our dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .


For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.


You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.

Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.

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